Finding Your Value

What is Value?

Whether you realize it or not the first and most important thing about building a business clients will value is the fact you are valuable yourself.

You have something to offer especially if you have learned a skill or trade. All of your learning experiences play a role in the value you create for clients.

One can interpret the word value in different ways:

  • Value may be a fast turnaround
  • Value can be knowledge
  • Value may be advice
  • Value may be experience
  • Value may be perspective
  • Value can be a person who knows how to find things others can’t find
  • Value may be a unique skill that many others cannot mimic

With so many ways to interpret value the more important question(s) to answer is (are):

“What is valuable about the skill that you have?”

“What is valuable about the business you’re building?

“How can you get others interested in what you do?”

Whether it’s an attempt to be humble or we don’t want to perceive ourselves as arrogant, we downplay the skills we’ve learned over time.

When uncovering your value as a freelance professional, it comes down to 2 things:

Your confidence (skill)

This has to do with the confidence in your skills to complete a project.

Your position (perception)

This has to do with how other people see you or perception of your skills and the level of professionalism you have.

Let’s talk about confidence in your skills.

You will never get to a point where you have arrived. If you feel like this, you may be a lifelong learner. This is great because you can adapt and apply them to your business or project. Learning can help you build confidence. Reflect on what you’ve learned if you don’t know something add it.

You know more than you think

Let’s take a moment to step back and look at what we have already learned in our lives. I believe there’s tremendous value there that is often skipped and not captured.

When I began freelancing, I had this feeling that I didn’t know enough. I was a rookie, and I just started there’s no way that I can command the higher prices I wanted to. I was suffering from imposter syndrome, high-achieving individuals are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

I knew I had a goal, but it was going to take some time to reach the goal. I wasn’t sure what to do, how to say I’m open for business or why people should come to me.

I didn’t understand what my value was.

I began to think about everything I’ve learned. I thought about my education path:

  • I went to pre-school
  • I went to elementary school
  • I went to middle school
  • I went to high school
  • Finally, I made it to college

Just thinking about my college experience and I took 130 credit hours toward a degree. This involved going to class, doing homework assignments, special projects, extracurricular activities, community service, work-study jobs and juggling multiple classes, all while trying to move towards a central goal.

I easily worked 40 hours a week to study, go to class and prepare. This was 40 hours a week every week for five (5) years.

40 hours x 50 weeks x 5 years = 10,000 hours

If you do the quick math on that, that is at least 10,000 hours I dedicated to learning a skill, learning how to balance schedules, how to work with other people, how to study a subject matter and apply that knowledge quickly to get a particular result.

After my undergraduate experience, I then went to graduate school. Here I was taking 50 extra credit hours, and often I would take at least 6 hours a week after work and continue to do homework (6 hours), group assignments (3 hours) and much more. I did all of that for the span of 3 years.

(6 hours + 6 hours + 3 hours ) x 50 weeks x 3 years = 2,250

When you do the math on that, it’s easily over 2,000 hours.